The 2023 Women's T20 World Cup in South Africa was an event to remember, not just for the cricketing action on the field, but also for the record-breaking viewership numbers it generated.
With 192 million global viewing hours, the event saw a 44% increase from the 2020 T20 World Cup held in Australia. This made it the most-watched women's sporting event to date, with a whopping 790% increase in viewership compared to the previous edition.
The tournament final, held at Cape Town, was a clash between two powerhouses of women's cricket - Australia and South Africa. The Australian team, led by Meg Lanning, had already won the tournament twice in a row and were looking to complete a historic three-peat. South Africa, on the other hand, were playing in their first-ever ICC event final, and were eager to create history in front of their home fans.
In the end, it was Australia who came out on top, thanks to a match-winning knock from Beth Mooney. The opener scored 74 runs in just 54 balls, propelling her team to a total of 168/6. In response, South Africa were bowled out for 149, giving Australia a 19-run victory and their third consecutive T20 World Cup title.
Apart from the on-field action, the event also left a lasting legacy for women's cricket in South Africa. The ICC noted that the tournament had inspired a new generation of girls and boys to take up the sport, and had created a long-term impact for women's cricket in the country.
The broadcast figures in South Africa were particularly impressive, with a 130% increase in live coverage compared to previous ICC events. The final, which was the first involving South Africa in an ICC event, was also available on free-to-air television, further increasing its reach.
India, another cricket-crazy nation, also saw a significant increase in viewership numbers for the 2023 Women's T20 World Cup. Despite the Indian team not reaching the final, total live viewing hours across linear TV and digital platforms were up by 57% from 2020. The most-watched game in India was the group stage fixture against arch-rivals Pakistan, which received a combined 32.8 million live viewing hours across the Star Sports network and Disney+ Hotstar.
In the United Kingdom, the event was also a huge success, with total live viewing hours of 6.9 million, up 26% from 2020 and 16% from the 2018 event. This made it the most-watched ICC Women's T20 World Cup to date in the UK.
The ICC CEO, Geoff Allardice, hailed the event as a game-changer for women's cricket, and noted the significant progress being made to accelerate the growth of the sport. He highlighted the focus on engaging fans and new audiences, and the success of the digital innovation strategy for ICC women's events.
Overall, the 2023 Women's T20 World Cup in South Africa was a huge success, both on and off the field. With record-breaking viewership numbers and a positive impact on women's cricket in the host country, it has set the benchmark for future ICC women's events.